Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Arthritis?

Osteoarthritis -- the condition caused by decades of wear and tear in the joints -- is a fact of life for tens of millions of older Americans. Some people experience very few symptoms, but pain and stiffness force many others to adjust their lives. Fortunately, osteoarthritis is rarely crippling, and almost everyone can find a way to relieve joint pain and increase range of motion. Take our short quiz to see how much you know about the most common form of arthritis.

1. You should rest arthritic joints as often as possible. True or false?

True

False

2. Which of the following does NOT increase your risk of arthritis?

a. Frequent jogging

b. Family history of the condition

c. Knee injuries

d. Obesity

3. A diet rich in Vitamin D may help prevent arthritis. True or false?

True

False

4. Which of the following supplements has been scientifically proven to relieve arthritis pain?

a. Shark cartilage

b. SAM-e

c. Blue-green algae

d. None of the above

5. Acetaminophen is a good first choice for relieving arthritis pain. True or false?

True

False

Your Results

1. You should rest arthritic joints as often as possible. True or false?

The correct answer is: False

Instead of resting those joints, give them a workout. Stretching, weight training, and aerobic activities like walking, cycling, or swimming can all increase flexibility while reducing pain. Your doctor can help you choose a pain-free workout that's right for you.

2. Which of the following does NOT increase your risk of arthritis?

The correct answer is: a. Frequent jogging

Recreational runners get osteoarthritis no more often than anybody else does. All of the other factors -- knee injuries, obesity, and family history of osteoarthritis -- greatly increase your risk of developing the condition

3. A diet rich in Vitamin D may help prevent arthritis. True or false?

The correct answer is: True

Many older people don't get enough vitamin D, a shortfall that makes them prime targets for osteoarthritis. By drinking two cups of fortified milk a day -- or by taking supplements (600 IU for those 1-70 years of age and pregnant or breastfeeding women, and 800 IU for those over 71) -- you can help reduce the risk of the disease.

4. Which of the following supplements has been scientifically proven to relieve arthritis pain?

The correct answer is: b. SAM-e

Several large clinical studies have found that the nutritional supplement SAM-e eases the symptoms of osteoarthritis about as effectively as ibuprofen and similar drugs. The Arthritis Foundation has also endorsed SAM-e as an effective pain reliever, but doesn't support claims that it contributes to "joint health". As with any dietary supplement, be sure to consult your doctor before you begin taking SAM-e. Caution: According to the Arthritis Foundation, SAM-e may interact with antidepressant medications, so avoid it if you have bipolar disorder or are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). It may also make Parkinson's disease worse.

5. Acetaminophen is a good first choice for relieving arthritis pain. True or false?

The correct answer is: True

The American College of Rheumatology recommends acetaminophen as an appropriate first line of attack. If pain or inflammation persist, ask your doctor if it's safe for you to take regular doses of naproxen, aspirin or ibuprofen. He may suggest a prescription anti-inflammation medication to treat the condition.

References

American Arthritis Foundation

Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes: Vitamins.

Vitamin D Dosing, Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/vitamin-d/dosing/hrb-20060400

SAME-e. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/sam-e.php

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